Workbench/Construction Centre



By Les Asselstine




Create a centre where students are free to explore and create using a variety of tools and materials. This centre provides students with opportunities to use and develop the skills of:

  • observing, classifying, estimating, measuring, patterning, communicating, building (constructing, assembling, fastening), planning (designing), evaluating and problem solving

Explore the concepts of

  • matter, size, texture, mass, quantity, change, energy, space, resources


  • bench with one or two wide-jaw vices
  • safety goggles
  • tool/nail aprons
  • small hammers and nails
  • screw drivers and screws (Robertson)
  • fine-toothed saws
  • white glue
  • tape measure
  • level
  • sandpaper
  • drill
  • building materials, such as softwood, plastic bottles, corrugated cardboard, or styrofoam
  • stump for hammering nails

Teaching/Assessment Strategies

  • Involve students in developing and monitoring safety rules.

e.g.– use of goggles

              – number of people at the centre

              – consideration of others

              – clean-up

  • Introduce tools a few at a time. It’s permissible to hide the hammers some days!
  • Introduce fastening materials after the students have had a few days to build without them.
  • Allow time for self-directed experimentation with the tools and building.
  • Provide pictures or books to suggest possible projects.
  • Provide building challenges.

e.g.    – Build a home for…

                  – Build something related to a story.

  • Ask questions to extend activity and thought.

e.g.     – How does this work?

                   – What do you do with this?

                   – Why does it feel warm when you rub with the sandpaper?

                   – How will you get these parts to stay together?


Performance Criteria

Through observation and direct communication, assess how well the student:

  • chooses and uses a tool appropriate for the task
  • works safely
  • perseveres to complete a task
  • plans
  • chooses and uses materials of appropriate size and shape to complete a task
  • manipulates tools to complete a task
  • describes a tool and its use
  • describes a sequence or order of tasks
  • communicates instructions
  • explains cause/effect relationships.

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